I. The Message of the Crucifixion, P 16
16 As you read the teachings of the Apostles, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later, because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time. I do not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system toward which I am guiding you. I do not call for martyrs but for teachers. No one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners. Any concept of punishment involves the projection of blame, and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The result is a lesson in blame, for all behavior teaches the beliefs that motivate it. The crucifixion was the result of clearly opposed thought systems; the perfect symbol of the “conflict” between the ego and the Son of God. This conflict seems just as real now, and its lessons must be learned now as well as then.
In this paragraph I hear that I should not believe anything in the Bible that is counter to love, it is just a misunderstanding by those who were not fully ready to embrace the idea of unconditional love. I accept that, and even before I knew it was true I suspected it was, though I also feared it was not true. If it turned out that God had his own beloved son crucified then I was truly in trouble, stuck with a choice between hell and a pretty scary God. I really wanted to believe the Course.
When I first read that Jesus does not want fear to enter into this new thought system, I felt a deep sense of relief. Little did I know how pervasive fear and guilt are in my mind and how much time it would take to root it out. Thirty years later I am still finding guilt and fear and their evil children, blame, suffering, and death.
I have to laugh now that I thought that just because I liked what I was reading and felt (hoped) it was true, that the struggle was over. It could have been if there was full acceptance, but I still found so much value in holding onto these ideas that I could not bring myself to accept the Atonement for them.
Sure, I like the idea that I am not sinful and I will not be punished. I really like the idea that I am not going to be martyred. But I’m not so sure about you. ~smile~ I might need someone else to be guilty. What if my child is thoughtless of me? What if my friend abandons me? Sometimes it is subtler than that. What if I pay someone to do something for me and they take the money but fail to do the job? Surely they are guilty.
The thought that keeps coming up in my mind is one of being unfairly treated. If I think I am unfairly treated in any way by anybody, I believe in guilt, sin and punishment. I would like to argue that just because I believe in sin doesn’t mean I expect punishment. Surely I am too spiritual for that. But I see that if the person who failed to complete the job is not punished for it, then I suffer and so I am punished for his sin. Now I am a victim and in my desire to appear holy, I am a martyr.
I can see that these ideas still have a place in my mind, but I also see that I am not in love with them anymore. As I see them I am ready to accept healing, and if it seems I have to repeat this process over and over again, I am OK with that. I love myself enough now to be patient with myself. I remind myself that I will not use this worker to attack myself, for surely, if I hold him guilty I have attacked myself through reinforcing the belief in guilt in my own mind.
A worker failed to live up to his obligations and I think he is guilty for this. I think he should be punished through not paying him or if he has been paid, in suing to recover my money. It all seems very reasonable to the ego mind, but I see now that the desire to place blame is an attack on myself, and an attack on the Sonship. The desire to keep this belief system in place is driven by the fear that I need to defend myself from this brother who is separate from me and clearly my enemy.
It seems that Jesus is not the only one who was crucified. This scenario I just described is my way of crucifying this worker and myself. Evidently I play out the crucifixion every time I choose to see an enemy where a holy Son of God stands. I cannot return to God dragging my brother’s cross behind me. I want God but I want retribution and punishment for this wrong doer. This is the conflict in my mind that keeps me separate from God, being projected outward as a labor dispute. Oh my word, this is ridiculous!
Do I want God or do I want this person to be guilty? Evidently I want both, but I cannot have both, so it is a matter of deciding what is most important to me. Each time I blame someone, whether it seems big or petty doesn’t matter, each of these times that I project blame, I push away the only thing that matters to me, waking up from the dream of separation. There. That makes my decision easier.